» Wazari Wazir Photographer Blog, Malaysian Photographer

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  • Welcome to My Blog!

    Hi, I'm Wazari Wazir, Malaysian Photojournalist working for the Government of Malaysia. Will be sharing a wide variety of pictures here from my official assignment and personal pictures. I do conduct Photography and Photoshop Workshops if there is any invitations.

    I've Conduct a Photoshop Workshops in IIUM International Islamic University Malaysia (Gombak) and also at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT), in Selangor and other Photography Workshops all over the country including Sabah Malaysia North Borneo.

    My Blog is The Winner for Best Photography Blog 2014 during MSMW Malaysia Social Media Week Blogger Awards 2014.

    Thank you for visiting My Blog and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my email...

    wazariwazir@yahoo.com | Tel No : + 6012 2812753

Children Photography | Brother And Sister | My Partner in Crime

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Raphael and Arianna | Brother and Sister

My Brother!

“Someone who hides my toys and breaks my dolls, but picks me up whenever I fall. Someone who stands by my side and holds my hand when things don’t go well, he helps me understand. Someone who makes funny faces just to see how I would react. I love my brother and that’s a fact.”

- Anonymous -

Travel | Preparing For Trans-Siberian Railway Journey

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Journaling On Trans-Siberian Railway Journey

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Guide Book | Trans-Siberian Railway | Bryan Thomas Book

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Visa Support From Real Russia

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Inside Kupe Compartment On Trans-Siberian Railway Journey

Planning for the Trans-Siberian Railway trip can be quite challenging but where there is a will there is a way some people said. Yes it’s true that it can be quite challenging sometimes but it can be done. You just need to follow through, never give up. With little bit research here and there, you’re done.

Anyway I’m not planning to write an in depth on “how to” plan for Trans-Siberian Railway because I believe there are thousand of them have been written already, more or less are almost the same and I had been reading quite a lot of blogs post about Trans-Siberian few years before planning this trip and religiously reading about Trans-Siberian Railway few month before my personal trip.

It is not that difficult as you might think, all you need is to apply for Russian Visa (Most Countries need to have Russian Visa) before they can visit Russia and for Malaysian, yes, we need to apply for Visa, then depending on your country you also need to apply for Mongolian Visa and China Visa if you are planning to visit those countries (Malaysian don’t need to apply for Mongolian visa).

Among the trickiest part about applying for Russian Visa is that you need to have “An Invitation Letter” or sometimes they call it as “Visa Support” in order to apply for Russian Visa. You might asked then, “Who wanted to invite me to visit Russia?” Actually you really don’t need someone to invite you, you just need the “Invitation Letter” and there are few ways where you can have it, among others is to asked your hotel in Russia that yo are planning to stay to send it to you, either by mail or by email.

But the most popular option  is through agency like Real Russia or Way To Russia , with a small fees from $20/30 USD  you can have your visa support email it to you within 24 hours. I’ve shared with you my Visa Support which I apply from Real Russia above. Once you have your Visa Support, just download Visa form from Russian Embassy website and apply for your visa at Russian Embassy in your country. I’ve done it myself, I mean I did not go through any travel agency to apply for my Russian Visa, I just use other agency just to get the “Visa Support”. If you plan to use agency to arrange and apply for your Russian Visa, be prepared to pay quite an expensive price for the convenience. I just paid MYR 164 or approximately $45 USD, for my Russian Visa which I apply directly from Russian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the visa ready within one week. 

I’ve read somewhere that some people find it hard to get Russian Visa even though they have all the document ready,luckily  I don’t have any problem, one thing for sure is that you need to write down your itinerary clearly, if you plan to travel to Russian for Trans Siberian Railway, write it down, also list down all the city that you wanted to stop along the way. The more details your itinerary, the better. Make sure you have all the documents ready also, like hotel bookings form, inbound or outbound flight tickets, sometimes they need to have a look at the document, sometimes they don’t need, but be prepared, if they want it, then, you have it.

You don’t need to show them all the train tickets that you have book or buy, just show them your entry point, lets say, you fly direct to Moscow, show them the tickets and then show them the outbound tickets, like if you wanted to visit Mongolia by train, just show them your confirm train ticket from Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude to Ulaanbatar Mongolia. Just to let them know, how long you will be in Russia, it is not necessary but it is great if you have it, for me I prepared everything but once I show them everything, they just need my “Visa Support” letter and the Russian Visa Form and my Passport off-course, that’s it, they don’t want my hotel booking and train ticket to be attached together with the Visa Form. Other people experience may differ though.

After I got my Russian Visa a week later, I head straight to China Visa Centre to apply for China Visa because I’m planning to travel all the way from Saint Petersburg Russia to Beijing China.

Once my Visa is ready, then only I bought other train ticket online. Russian Railway RZD website only sells ticket online within 45 days prior to departure, you cannot buy earlier than that unless you are using other travel agency, but then, you will have to pay more for the tickets.

How much to pay for the train tickets (Approximately) :

  • 1. Trans-Siberia – Moscow – Vladivostok : USD 243  (RM865) 3rd Class
  • 2. Trans-Siberia/Trans-Manchuria (Moscow – Beijing) : USD 627 (RM2,230) 2nd Class
  • 3. Trans-Siberia/Trans-Mongolia (Moscow – UlaanBator – Beijing) : USD 688 (RM2,448) 2nd Class

You can cut cost if stop along the way for one night or more. Above price is for direct route without stopping anywhere. Below price with few stops :

  • 1. Saint Petersburg – Moscow | (4 hour Sapsan USD 74 | Fast Train) 8 Hour Normal Train RM110 | USD 30.48
  • 2. Moscow – Kazan | 12 hour RM93.55 | USD 25.92
  • 3. Kazan – Irkutsk | 67 hour RM262.49 | USD 72.73
  • 4. Irkutsk – UlaanBator | 32 hour  Train No 362 (2015 RM558) USD 154.61
  • 5. Ulaanbator – Beijing | 28 hour Train No 24 – RM512 | USD 141.87
  • 6. TOTAL Approximate : RM1536.00 | USD 425.60

If you asked me, which place or city to stop along the way, I could not answer it for you, simply because our priority and interest might be different. You need to do some research for yourself based on your interest, be it for historical value, a beautiful places or anything that might interest you. I use Trailblazer Trans-Siberian Railway handbook by Bryan Thomas to plan for my journey, you can also use Trans-Siberian Railway from Lonely Planet, they are more or less are almost the same.

Spending few days on the train might not be a cup of coffee for everyone, but for me I will definitely do it again in a heartbeat. Actually planning for the Trans-Siberian Railway Trip is an adventure in itself. Who doesn’t like adventure?

“My Heart is Warm With The Friends I Make,
And Better Friends I’ll Not be Knowing,
Yet There isn’t a Train I Wouldn’t Take,
No Matter Where it’s Going.”

- Edna St. Vincent Millay -

Be Content With Life | The Mexican Fisherman and the Investment Banker

© 2013 Wazari Wazir | Once Upon a Time in Uludag Turkey

I don’t quite remember when did I found this story since I’ve read quite a lot of books and blog post but this story from unknown author about the fisherman and the businessman sticks with me, sometimes, we have more than enough, we just need to be thankful. It is something to ponder about, give it a deep thought, someone have asked me, why I don’t quit from my job  and start a business, maybe this story has the answer…

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions, then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Solitude | Once Upon a Time in China Town | Kuala Lumpur

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Solitude in China Town

“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”

- Hery Miller -

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

- Nikola Tesla -

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

“You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.”

- Henry David Thoreau -

“To have passed through life and never experienced solitude is to have never known oneself. To have never known oneself is to have never known anyone.”

- Joseph Krutch -

Family Trip | Universal Studios Singapore

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | In Front of Universal Studios Singapore Globe

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | My Little Children Favourite | The Madagascar

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Outside Universal Studios Store | The Transformer

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | Universal Studios Singapore

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | The Jurassic Park

© 2015 Wazari Wazir | With The Famous Yellow Taxi | Universal Studios Singapore

“Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.”

- Paul Pearshall -

“Spare the rod and spoil the child – that is true. But, beside the rod, keep an apple to give him when he has done well.”

- Martin Luther -

“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”

- Elbert Hubbard -

© 2015 Singapore MRT Map

Traveling with family is totally different when traveling with friends, with my family I really need to keep a close eye on them at all time, watch their every move and I can’t concentrate on photography so much, yes there are  plenty of attraction and worthy of photography here inside the Universal Studios but most of the times to get a great picture, I need to wait for the right moment and also the right lighting. Traveling with my family, I don’t have the luxury of times to get all of those things.

Anyway, I’m traveling here with my family DIY style. I mean “Do It Yourself”, we didn’t take any travel package here because I think traveling in Singapore is quite easy, they have great transportation system to move you around, whether you arrived by train at Woodlands or by plane at Changi Airport, you can easily move around by MRT (Mass Rapid Transit).

We arrived by train in Woodlands and from Woodlands, and from there we took a bus to Woodlands MRT and get down at Bugis station where we stayed for three night. To get to Sentosa Island where the Universal Studious is located, we took the MRT also. It was very convenient for us to travel by MRT.

All you need to do is, no matter where you stayed, just take any MRT that will take you to North-East-Line and get down at Harbour Front Station. The station was located inside VivoCity Shopping Mall. From ViVoCity shopping Centre you can either take the Singapore Cable Car (Take Exit B (Harbourfront Centre). Follow directional signs leading to Singapore Cable Car station at Harbourfront Tower II. (Ticketing Adult: S$29*  Child: $18* (Child aged 3-12 years old).

You can also travel into Sentosa on foot via the Sentosa Boardwalk. It’s a leisurely stroll from VivoCity Shopping Mall’s waterfront promenade, made easy by two-way canopy-covered travellators.

We use Sentosa Express, which is  located at VivoCity (Lobby L, Level 3)/ Ticketing S$ 4 Per entry (Adult and Child aged 3 and above). get down at the first station if you wanted to visit the Universal Studios. And off-course you can also take a taxi to get there.

Universal Studios is quite big for a family with a small children to get around and we didn’t visit all f the attractions and ride, the only ride that we took is the Madagascar Ride, and skip the others, my son HaiQal was afraid of the Dinosaur Ride so we skip it and so does the Transformer.

All in all it will normally take half day to visit all of the attraction inside. The best tip that I can give you is that, buy the Universal Studios Ticket online to beat the queue or you can buy from any travel agency that sells it, so you don’t waste your time queuing for the tickets. It can be pretty long queue especially during public holiday.

I’m not a Theme Park Guys, in Malaysia we have so many Theme Park but I’ve visited none of them so far, but out of curiosity and all of the hype about USS, so I plan to check it out. Yes, you will definitely make your little children happy here especially when they saw their favourite cartoon character like the Minion, Madagascar, Transformer, Shrex, just to name a few. But for me, it’s puzzle me on why so many adult like visiting here, I mean those who didn’t have small children with them, if not because of my children, I don’t think I will be here.

I did try the River Ride Adventure in Madagascar : A Crate Adventure, with my children, yes I’m happy to ride it with my little children, it is a memorable experience to spend time with them but if I were alone here, I don’t think I will try it, let alone buy the entrance ticket to the Universal Studios. I don’t see why I will be happy riding the man made adventure, I would rather spend time trekking the Himalaya instead.

Universal Studios or any theme park in this world is definitely not for everyone, other than expensive entrance ticket to get in, few people will enjoy it, some people like me, might not enjoyed it fullest, if not for my children and out of curiosity, I won’t be here, but nevertheless it is a memorable experience to remember spending times with our family.

After all, it is not the destination that matters, it is the journey,  “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

*Related Post : Singapore Awesome Supertree Grove, Gardens By The Bay